A Look at Exchange Server 2013 Resource Mailboxes

Resource mailboxes have been around for a few versions of Exchange Server, and Exchange Server 2013 brings us a few improvements in how they are managed.

There are two types of resource mailboxes:

  • Room mailboxes are for fixed locations such as meeting rooms or conference facilities
  • Equipment mailboxes are for items that are not fixed to a location, such as laptops or vehicles

Exchange 2013 puts resource mailboxes under their own section of the Exchange Administration Center. Both room and equipment mailboxes are managed in this same section.

One of the immediate improvements is that you are able to set the booking policy or assign delegates during the creation of the resource mailbox, rather than as a secondary task after the mailbox is created.

After the mailbox has been created there are a few additional properties you can customize. The booking options can be further tuned with regards to recurring meetings, booking horizon, and custom replies.

You can also easily configure a MailTip for the resource mailbox.

The text that you place in the MailTip will appear automatically when people add the room or resource mailbox to a meeting request in Outlook. Although in my opinion the MailTip needs some color to draw the person’s attention to it.

Finally, an interesting default setting is the disabling of email address policies. This does make sense as most resource mailboxes are for internal use only, so having email address policies assigning multiple SMTP addresses to resource mailboxes is usually not necessary.

Overall it appears that room and resource mailboxes are a feature that has matured over the previous versions of Exchange Server and now receive just a few minor improvements to make them simpler to manage.

Comments

  1. David Smith says

    Good article, I am impressed with the progress that Microsoft are making with Room and Resource mailboxes. Coming from a company that used an expensive third party room booking solution, that they hardly use 60% of its full feature set, I can really see that this would potentially be viewed as a possible replacement. The only issue I forsee is that the orgs users use a wide variety of Outlook clients so possibly could be a problem? Or would they have to use OWA?

    Agree with the point about a bit of colour required on the Mail Tip. An org’s users would need something to catch their eye.

    • ME says

      Say what you will, but Lotus Notes and Domino has had these features for years. It’s a far more manageable and cost effective resource management system, even if the mail template has less user options then Outlook.

      • Mike Richter says

        Have been managing Lotus and Domino for 10+ years, and Rooms and resources feature in domino is terrible.. We have 1000’s of rooms that we manage and its the most difficult thing to maintain. Exchange does it a lot better, each room is its own mailbox and managed properly..

  2. says

    Have there been any improvements in the following two shortcomings of booking meetings with Exchange:
    – Meetings set as Free to a resource allow double-bookings (could be avoided if there was a way to set a rule to deny these meeting requests).
    – If the resource is unavailable, the appointment on the client can still be sent to all the recipients. Ideally this would be stopped before it gets sent altogether, like Direct Booking in Exchange 2003.

  3. Yama says

    Is there any option in exchange to make this possible?

    It concerns the via Outlook directly reserve a meeting room, coffee, beamer etc. in such a way that looks or the space actually available and then is secured. The person who reserves also gets a message. Also ushers in a certain way to see what is going on in the Chamber is needed resources.

  4. Angus says

    I notice there is an option for “Custom” rooms in the Room List. Is this configurable client-side? If so I’m not finding how to. This would be a great feature so I can create my own room lists if they have not been set up on the server.

  5. shaptoni says

    HI Paul
    I am migrating from 2007 and have just introduced 2013.
    I can view mailboxes, groups and contacts but when I try and view one of the resources I see the error:
    Cannot open mailbox /o=Company/ou=Exchange Administrative Group (FYDIBOHF23SPDLT)/cn=Configuration/cn=Servers/cn=2007MBXServer/cn=Microsoft System Attendant.
    Presumably resources are particular and require migration to 2013 before they can be viewed?
    Thanks

      • shaptoni says

        Sorry, in the EAC
        I can view their properties in the 2013 EAC (mailboxes not yet migrated, DL’s also not upgraded)
        I receive the error when I try to read the properties of the resource mailboxes in the 2013 EAC

        • says

          During co-existence you should manage an object with the matching version of the management tools. Eg a 2007 mailbox should be administered with the 2007 EMC.

          The exception of course is when you do the mailbox move, that is done with the 2013 tools in your case.

  6. shaptoni says

    Thanks Paul, and that is very true. I have noticed strange output in the 2013 shell viewing 2007

    FYI after migrating a room I could modify the object but was still experiencing the error
    I noticed that Booking delegates lists “Use customized setting to accept or decline booking requests”
    After I changed the option to: Accept or decline booking requests automatically, the “Use customized…” option disappeared and so did the error

  7. nodorina says

    Hi,

    Does Shared mailbox still exist in Exchange 2013?

    If we migrate ‘shared’ mailbox type from Exchange 2010 to Exchange 2013, will it stay as ‘shared’ mailbox?

    Thanks

  8. Tim O'Connor says

    Hi Paul,

    I’ve just completed a migration from Exchange 2003, through Exchange 2010, to Exchange 2013. I noticed just today that mailboxes that had been resources in Ex2003 are now allowing double-booking. In Exchange Administration Center some show up in the Mailboxes section and others in the Shared section – none in the Resources section.
    Using the shell I tried to change some to resources (Set-Mailbox MarketingDept1 -Type Room). Shell now tells me that they are indeed rooms (Get-Mailbox -Identity MarketingDept1 | Format-List RecipientTypeDetails) but they haven’t moved in Administration Center and when I edit them I don’t see the booking options, etc.
    How should I be converting these old Ex2003 resources to Ex2013 resources?

    Thanks, Tim

  9. Lisa says

    We’re having a strange issue with our resources. We finished our migration from exchange 2007 to exchange 2013. We do not use public folders so we did not do anything with migrating public folders.

    We stopped all services on the exchange 2007 servers because migration was done. As soon as we did this conference room resources no longer worked (error: can directly book this room). Once we mounted the 2007 public folder database the resources worked correctly.

    What did we miss? Any help is appreciated. Does 2013 resources still use the public folder system folder?

  10. Phil Ready says

    Hi Paul
    Great article (like all of yours), keep it up.

    I have a question on allowing conflicts for recurring meetings.
    If I AllowConflicts $True, single and recurring meetings are double booked. I thought Double booking are never allowed, no matter what the setting and that these settings just apply to recurring meetings, by deciding how many conflicts there are before rejecting the lot.
    My present settings are:
    AllowRecurringMeetings $True
    AllowConflicts $False
    ConflictPercentageAllowed 20
    MaximumConflictInstances 0

    If there is 1 conflict, all meetings are declined.
    Is there another setting I need somewhere?
    Thanks

    • says

      MaximumConflictInstances 0 means no conflicts are allowed for new recurring meetings.

      AllowConflicts $True means the other conflict settings (percentage and max instances) are ignored. So this would override the setting above.

      If you want to allow *some* conflicts set AllowConflicts to $false and use the ConflictPercentageAllowed and MaximumConflictInstances values to control how much conflict you’re willing to allow.

        • Phil Ready says

          Hi Paul. The article states that conflicts will always be declined and that AllowConflicts:$True will bi-pass the Max conflicts and %.
          Whereas I have found AllowConflicts:$True allows conflicts outright and all bookings are accepted and double bookings result.
          Plus When AllowConflicts:$False, ConflictPercentageAllowed 20 and MaximumConflictInstances 0, any conflict with recurring meeting will result in a total decline. It works if I set MaximumConflictInstances 3 (or anything other than 0)
          This concurs with you reply on July 1, but is contrary to the TechNet article text and flowchart.

  11. Mark Cummings says

    We recently upgraded to Exchange 2013, and several of my users have been setup as rooms to ease with schedulers being able to book appointments for them as the auto accept features seem to work better for a room rather than a mailbox. It looks like I have had an unintended problem though that OWA does not work for a room. I do not see any options for it under the resources options and I have not found anything about OWA and resources from searches other than how to manage resource settings through OWA. Any idea on how to OWA-enable a resource in Exchange 2013?

    Thanks

  12. Greg says

    We are moving to an Exchange 2013 environment from Exchange 2007. We currently use a third-party room scheduling system and are moving away from that to the native room scheduling in Exchange/Outlook 2013. One thing I haven’t been able to figure out yet is how to include a picture of a resource. I can use the Set-UserPhoto command, but it only allows a tiny thumbnail. I’m looking to be able to show a full size picture of a room so a user can see the room layout. How can I do that?

    Thanks

  13. Steve says

    In Exchange 2010 Resource Room Mailboxes I could add resource custom properties, such as Whiteboard, TV, DVD, WebAccess, Multidirection Speaker phone. In other words, I could show room amenities while I selected a conference room. I cannot figure how to do this in Exchange 2013 Resource Room Mailboxes.

    BTW, these items are not considered check-out worthy and only come with the room.

    Thanks for any input.

  14. Jay says

    My users would like to have an admin e-mailed a copy of the reservation anytime a new one is made. Is there a way to do this? No rules options for resource rooms, and don’t want to enable a booking attendant. Thanks!

      • Jay says

        Actually did it through powershell using the following:
        Set-Mailbox -Identity resource -DelivertoMailboxAndForward $True -ForwardingSMTPAddress user@acme.com

        Even though it’s not a normal user mailbox this is tested and works!

        Jay

        • says

          Forwarding emails and notifying every time a new calendar item is created are two separate things, but if what you’ve put in place there meets your needs that’s fine.

  15. Dan Hicks says

    Hi Paul nice article,

    I have the following issue with an Exchange 2013 environment set up with a cross forest organization running Exchange 2010.
    When a migrated and linked account on the EX13 side creates an event adding a room resource and/or person on the Ex10 side, when the person Ex10 person or resource accepts a second entry is created on the event under the category ‘optional’.
    Any thoughts on it? Thanks

  16. Barzinje says

    Hi Paul

    Thank you for nice article..
    When I send a reservation to a romm, I get confirmation by e-mail, but I get the same deal on my calendar as well. How can I avoid getting this deal on my calendar (I want only on resource)?

    br
    Barzinje

  17. Barzinje says

    Sorry, When I send a reservation to a romm, from my Outlook calender, the same appointment (reservation) appeared on my Outlook also .

  18. Shannon says

    We are currently running in a 2010/2013 on premise coexistence environment. We have noticed that our In-Policy permission are not showing up in the 2013 EAC under Booking Delegates, this section is blank, where is 2010 we have specified certain users to only be able to book these resources. How do you migrate these permissions to the 2013 environment?

    • Shannon says

      Please ignore the Booking Delegates part of my question, but how do we migrate the In-Policy permissions from 2010 to 2013?

    • says

      During a co-existence you should manage the mailbox with the version of the tools that match the version of the server it is hosted on.

      There’s no special steps that I know of to migrate the permissions and other configurations of the room mailbox. Just migrate the mailbox to the new server and it should continue working as before.

      Do it with a test mailbox first if you want to be sure.

  19. Ingo G. says

    Hi Paul,
    we are running an Exchange 2013 Environment and have several roomresources. not even everyone should have the right to book every room.
    how do I restrict the permission for certain Groups to book certain rooms?

  20. Kristian says

    Thanks for your informative article.
    I have a question about “pools”. Is there a way to create a resource pool in Exchange 2013? This would be great for car pools, where you just want to book a car, and any available car would be booked? I’ve read through all the comments and seen that someone allowed conflicts, and I see that it would be possible to allow 4 conflicts if there were 4 cars for example. But then it would be really hard to administer since noone knew which person should have which car. Could it maybe be done with delegation? or is there a really smooth way to do this that I havent found yet?

    I am trying to squeeze as much power out of Exchange as possible here 😉

    Thanks!

  21. Kathie says

    Thank you for this article. Is there a way to add a colour to each room resource e.g. allocate a colour to each room to represent the room’s location/campus? Although we incorporate the location within the name of the room, our admin assistants would like them colour coded as an easy visual aid. Thanks for your assistance!

    • says

      Last time I checked any colours assigned to different calendars were a user setting in Outlook that only applied to that person’s view, not everyone who looks at the same calendar.

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